Supportive of Mr. Trump’s border wall campaign or not, federal employees repeatedly expressed deep concerns about the consequences of the shutdown on their personal finances.
The National Treasury Employees Union, which counts Ms. Greenwald among its local leaders in Milwaukee, conducted a survey after the shutdown began and said about 78 percent of respondents reported that they were “very concerned” about how the impasse would affect their ability to pay basic living expenses, bills and rent. About 87 percent of respondents said they had cut, or planned to reduce, spending during the shutdown.
“No going out to dinner, no going out to shows,” Mr. Guzofski said as he reported to the largely empty Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Federal Building in Boston to aid in the “orderly shutdown” of the government. “This could last for weeks. I have to do something, and the only thing I can do is not spend money.”
The government even prepared sample letters for its employees to send to their creditors.
“I am a federal employee who has recently been furloughed due to a lack of funding of my agency,” the suggested letter to a landlord reads. “Because of this, my income has been severely cut and I am unable to pay the entire cost of my rent, along with my other expenses.”
Congress, which is expected to reconvene on Thursday but may not take immediate action to end the shutdown, has signaled that it will eventually pay government workers. It did so after a 16-day shutdown in 2013, when the Obama administration estimated that “the largest direct cost” of the stoppage was work that went unperformed — and the $2 billion the government paid employees for it.
Last week, the Senate unanimously approved a measure to compensate federal workers “at the earliest date possible after the lapse in appropriations ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates.”
For now, though, all the employees can do is wait and wonder when, exactly, their checks will come.
Mr. Guzofski said he would spend his time off doing repairs on his 100-year-old house. He said he planned to contact his congressional representatives to express his frustration with the shutdown.